Victoria's Secret, the lingerie company that introduced the Very Sexy bra, the Fantasy Bra, and the Internet server-crashing fashion show, has become "too sexy" for its own good, its top executive said.
"We've so much gotten off our heritage ... too sexy, and we use the word sexy a lot and really have forgotten the ultra feminine," said Sharen Turney, Victoria's Secret's chief executive, in a call with industry analysts.
Victoria's Secret was launched with the idea that Victoria was manor-born and lived in London, Turney said.
"I feel so strongly about us getting back to our heritage and really thinking in terms of ultra feminine and not just the word sexy and becoming much more relevant to our customer," Turney said Thursday.
Turney said Victoria's Secret has gotten younger with a strong focus on its successful Pink line of lingerie and loungewear created for college-age women, and has tried to chase those customers.
Turney said Victoria's Secret wants to increase its level of sophistication.
"We will also reinvent the sleepwear business and focus on product quality," she said. "Our assortment will return to an ultra feminine lingerie brand to meet her needs and expectation."
Sales at Victoria's Secret, like many clothing retailers, have been slipping.
Victoria Secret's parent, Limited Brands, said Wednesday that its fourth quarter profits fell 12 percent and that its first quarter earnings would come in below Wall Street expectations.
Same-store sales at Victoria's Secret fell 2 percent in 2007, with sales in the fourth quarter dropping 8 percent.
The chain was started in San Francisco in 1977 by Roy Raymond, who said he was embarrassed trying to buy lingerie for his wife and hoped to provide a comfortable place for men to shop.